Make Ahead Moussaka

Delicious moussaka recipe. Make ahead for an easy freezer-meal or take to a potluck event!

The first time I ever had moussaka was when my ex-in-laws made it for dinner one night. I think they were trying this whole “putting-the-romance-into-their-retired-life” sort of thing by cooking together. And I can totally see why moussaka would seem a good bet for team building.

The beauty of moussaka is that it is a deceptively simple dish. Made very much like traditional lasagne, it features layers of vegetables, a beautifully scented meat sauce and a creamy bechamel sauce on top. It is seriously gorgeous to eat. But at about two hours of prep and cook time, it is definitely not a weekday dinner! Unless, of course, you do what I do and make it ahead! This dish freezes beautifully, or you can assemble it one day and cook it another. It’s versatile!

The trick is to get each ingredient/layer ready and then assemble the whole thing last minute. So here’s what you need to do.

Ingredients

Meat Sauce:

1/2 lb ground beef
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 C red wine
8 oz tomato sauce (canned)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp dried oregano
salt/pepper to taste

Bechamel Sauce:

5 T butter
5 T flour
4 C milk (warmed)
1 tsp ground nutmeg
salt to taste

Other:

parmesan cheese
1 eggplant
2 medium/large red potatoes
olive oil
salt/pepper

Instructions:

1. Cut the eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds, brush with olive oil on both sides, as well as a nice sprinkling of salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes on each side at 400 degrees on a baking sheet. Set aside.

2. Cut the potatoes into 1/4 inch rounds and boil them for about 5 – 6 minutes in a heavily salted pot of water. Drain and set aside.

3. For the meat sauce, sweat the onions in the olive oil until they are nicely soft. Add in the minced garlic and the ground beef and cook until the beef is browned. Add in the spices and cook until the smell permeates the air around you (a minute or two). Turn up the heat and then add in the red wine to deglaze the pan. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes until reduced and then add in the tomato sauce. Simmer for a few minutes and then set aside.

4. For the bechamel, add the butter into a medium hot pan and melt. Add in the flour and whisk until a paste forms. Keep whisking, allowing the paste to bubble. Add in your warm milk and continue to whisk. Work out any lumps. Once it begins to boil, turn the heat to low and allow it to cook until it becomes thick (around ten minutes). Add in the salt and nutmeg and whisk one last time.

5. To assemble the dish, layer the potatoes across the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle some parmesan on top. Next, add the eggplant in a new layer, and sprinkle again with parmesan. Then, layer the meat sauce on top of this, sprinkling again with a bit of parmesan. Finally, pour your bechamel sauce on top of the entire dish and sprinkle again with some parmesan.

6. Bake the dish in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes covered and another 30 minutes uncovered.

7. Enjoy!

 

This dish is truly yummy, and even my two year old eats it! I hope you try it yourself and enjoy a taste of Greece at home.

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Katie Reed

Katie Reed

Katie Reed is a 38 year old mom blogger from Salt Lake City, UT. She is married to the man of her dreams and together they have four beautiful boys. Dexter is 9, Daniel is 7, Chester is 5 and Wilder is 2. She writes about living with mental health issues while navigating motherhood. Her blog focuses on tips and tricks for moms, information and parenting news, kid-friendly recipes and crafts. She loves to reflect on the humorous side of parenthood and shares the reality of her life, with a "warts and all" attitude.

5 Responses

  1. This looks really good! I’m scared to cook with eggplant because I didn’t grow up eating it and it’s just scary to me for some reason. I tried cooking it once and it didn’t turn out well at all. But maybe your supposed to cook it a little before adding to the dish like you did. I’ll have to try this and see if I can overcome my fear of eggplant.

    1. My first time cooking with eggplant was about 10 years ago, and it was AWFUL. It was weird and chewy and tasted strange. I didn’t cook with it again for about 9 years!! Then I decided to try again after watching a few cooking shows. Now I LOVE to cook with eggplant. It is still a little strange, but we all love it now. 🙂

  2. This looks really good! I’m scared to cook with eggplant because I didn’t grow up eating it and it’s just scary to me for some reason. I tried cooking it once and it didn’t turn out well at all. But maybe your supposed to cook it a little before adding to the dish like you did. I’ll have to try this and see if I can overcome my fear of eggplant.

    1. My first time cooking with eggplant was about 10 years ago, and it was AWFUL. It was weird and chewy and tasted strange. I didn’t cook with it again for about 9 years!! Then I decided to try again after watching a few cooking shows. Now I LOVE to cook with eggplant. It is still a little strange, but we all love it now. 🙂

  3. Katie,
    Thanks for this recipe!
    I’ve added it to the Farm Fresh Feasts Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me who love to eat from the farm share.
    I appreciate your help in making this index better!

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Katie Reed [A Mother Thing] is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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